Currie Cup Team-By-Team Preview for September 1998

Currie Cup Team-By-Team Preview for September 1998

Post by dflew.. » Thu, 03 Sep 1998 04:00:00

Currie Cup Team-By-Team Preview for September 1998

Blue Bulls
==========
Games in September:
Sat 05: HOME vs Border
Sat 12: AWAY vs Golden Lions
Sat 26: AWAY vs Boland Cavaliers
Preview: It's been a good season for the Bulls so far, and they top the
log going into September with only one loss in 7 games. However, it's
all uphill from here, and they will need at least two wins this month in
order to ensure some margin for error in October (when they face the top
3 teams from last year).

Golden Lions
============
Games in September:
Sun 06: AWAY vs Griqualand West
Sat 12: HOME vs Blue Bulls
Sat 19: HOME vs Western Province
Preview: A tough month ahead for the Lions, with three very difficult
games. Home advantage may prove vital against the Blue Bulls and WP, and
this will definitely be the month in which the Lions either secure their
semi-final berth, or drop out of the running.

Griqualand West
===============
Games in September:
Sun 06: HOME vs Golden Lions
Fri 11: AWAY vs Northern Free State
Sat 19: AWAY vs Eastern Province
Fri 25: HOME vs Mpumalanga Pumas
Preview: Most of the hard work has been done already this season, and
the Golden Lions match will prove to be Griquas' sternest test of the
month. Expect Griquas to score at least 19 log points this month and
move towards securing a home semi-final.

Western Province
================
Games in September:
Sat 05: HOME vs Boland Cavaliers
Sun 13: AWAY vs Mpumalanga Pumas
Sat 19: AWAY vs Golden Lions
Sun 27: HOME vs Free State Cheetahs
Preview: WP's season has been unimpressive so far, and if they are
intent on retaining their Currie Cup title, they will need to improve
drastically over the next few weeks. At least three wins will be needed
this month, because October looks even tougher for WP.

Free State Cheetahs
===================
Games in September:
Fri 04: HOME vs North West
Sat 12: HOME vs Natal Sharks
Sun 27: AWAY vs Western Province
Preview: Free State's outstanding form from last year is a distant
memory after an unimpressive run of only 4 wins in 7 games. They face
two crucial games later this month, and with more big games in October
looming, Free State will need to find their form very quickly in order
to avoid a desperate (and probably unsucessful) battle to reach the
semi-finals.

Natal Sharks
============
Games in September:
Sat 05: HOME vs Northern Free State
Sat 12: AWAY vs Free State Cheetahs
Sun 20: HOME vs Boland Cavaliers
Sat 26: AWAY vs Border
Preview: Natal haven't had the best of seasons so far, but are still
safely on course to peak in October. The only tricky match this month is
likely to be their trip to Bloemfontein, which the home side will be
desperate to win. Natal are pacing this season well, and should enter
October safely in contention for a semi-final berth.

Gauteng Falcons
===============
Games in September:
Sat 05: AWAY vs SWD Eagles
Sat 12: AWAY vs Border
Fri 18: HOME vs Northern Free State
Preview: The Falcons, under new coach Phil Pretorius, would be odds-on
favourites for a mythical "Most Improved Team" award this season. Two
recent defeats have slowed their momentum, but will keep up their
surprise challenge for a semi-final spot if they manage to beat the
Eagles in their next outing. It may be worth putting a few rand on the
Falcons making the semi-finals, as SWD and Griquas (in their last match)
are the only serious opposition left in store for the Falcons.

Boland Cavaliers
================
Games in September:
Sat 05: AWAY vs Western Province
Fri 11: HOME vs SWD Eagles
Sun 20: AWAY vs Natal Sharks
Sat 26: HOME vs Blue Bulls
Preview: Boland have been very inconsistent this season, and will find
themselves struggling to remain in contention for a semi-final spot
unless they can pull off a couple of upsets this month. Expect Boland's
challenge to fizzle out this month, as a tough schedule takes its toll.

SWD Eagles
==========
Games in September:
Sat 05: HOME vs Gauteng Falcons
Fri 11: AWAY vs Boland Cavaliers
Sat 19: HOME vs Border
Sat 26: AWAY vs Northern Free State
Preview: Another side to show impressive improvement this season, the
Eagles have a chance of reversing a recent run of three defeats with a
similar string of wins this month. A win against the Falcons would
rekindle their faint hopes of a semi-final spot, but two tough matches
in October may just***out those hopes.

Border
======
Games in September:
Sat 05: AWAY vs Blue Bulls
Sat 12: HOME vs Gauteng Falcons
Sat 19: AWAY vs SWD Eagles
Sat 26: HOME vs Natal Sharks
Preview: Border haven't had much to cheer about this season, but have
played impressively at times. A difficult month lies ahead for Border,
and if they somehow manage more than two bonus points from their 4 games
in September, they can feel satisfied.

North West
==========
Games in September:
Fri 04: AWAY vs Free State Cheetahs
Sat 12: HOME vs Eastern Province
Fri 18: AWAY vs Mpumalanga Pumas
Preview: North West have been a lot more impressive this season than
last season, and their leaky early season defence seems to have been
plugged to some extent. There is a wide gulf in ability between the top
9 and the bottom 5 unions, and North West will be out to secure two wins
later this month to secure a mini Grand Slam over the other "bottom 5"
teams.

Eastern Province
================
Games in September:
Sat 05: HOME vs Mpumalanga Pumas
Sat 12: AWAY vs North West
Sat 19: HOME vs Griqualand West
Preview: Eastern Province have played some very good rugby this season,
and a tough draw is the only explanation for the unflattering results
they have achieved. Their remaining matches offer at least 4 winnable
games, so expect to see an upturn in the Jumbos' fortunes.

Northern Free State
===================
Games in September:
Sat 05: AWAY vs Natal Sharks
Fri 11: HOME vs Griqualand West
Fri 18: AWAY vs Gauteng Falcons
Sat 26: HOME vs SWD Eagles
Preview: A famous win over Free State has been the single highlight of
their season so far. Another tough month lies ahead for the Purple
People Eaters - it looks like at least four more games of starvation for
them.

Mpumalanga Pumas
================
Games in September:
Sat 05: AWAY vs Eastern Province
Sun 13: HOME vs Western Province
Fri 18: HOME vs North West
Fri 25: AWAY vs Griqualand West
Preview: Winless after 6 games, the Pumas will be highly motivated and
desperate to break their duck this month. Based on recent form, they
will be hard pressed to achieve that first elusive victory this month -
and they will have their defence severely tested by Griquas in
particular.

--
David Flewellen - Cape Town, South Africa

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